Reynolds Weekly: June 24, 2019

by June 24, 2019
Every week, the Reynolds Center rounds up business angles from national headlines for you to use in your local coverage. Check it out these ideas. (via Flickr.com user Maria Elena)
Immigration raids and the economy

The Trump administration announced plans to conduct workplace raids in major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Houston starting last week in an attempt to crack down on undocumented immigrants. While the raids were ultimately suspended for the time being, what are some economic implication even the threat of raids could cause on an economic level?

The estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S. are a huge part of the economy especially in the service industry, agriculture, transportation and construction. While all 11.3 million people living in the U.S. without authorization won’t be deported in one fell swoop, the climate of uncertainty and fear has caused undocumented immigrants and their families to stay out of site — including missing work.

How to start your reporting:

Your reporting will depend entirely on your location. What kinds of industries are common and do undocumented immigrants play a significant role in your local economy? Talk to experts on the local economy, business owners, immigration advocacy groups and if possible, those who might be affected by the raids. Proceed with caution. Those who are undocumented may be afraid to share their stories.

Fake alcohol industry buzzing with interest

On a lighter note: people who genuinely like the taste of alcohol, but not the effects are in luck. Studies suggest that young people are drinking less, and the non-alcoholic ‘beer’ industry is buzzing right now according to industry experts. While NA beer has been around for a while, they get the reputation state side for being syrupy and generally poor tasting. As European breweries have been crafting better tasting NA beers for some time, that market has been pretty much untapped in the U.S. That might be changing: one company is producing exclusively NA beers mainly online with highly positive results.

How to start your reporting:

Find out if your local breweries are considering starting or increasing their NA beer options given the apparent market for it. Also, understand the reasons why people are choosing to drink NA beer instead of alcoholic beverages. Those who drink NA alcohol rather than the real thing often cite health concerns, such as studies which point to an increased risk of cancer in heavy drinkers. But what about pregnant women, those who are recovering from alcoholism, and those who can’t drink for religious purposes? They could be a potential market.

But what are the other reasons young people, in particular, might be drinking NA beers? Perhaps it can be connected not only to the increase in wellness, but the fact that young people on average are working longer hours–drinking alc-beer creates the risk of being groggy and hungover at work the next day.

Facebook reveals cryptocurrency plans

Facebook introduced details about its new cryptocurrency idea, Libra last week and it’s controversial, to say the least. On the one hand, implementing the blockchain cryptocurrency would allow global money transfers to occur cheaper and faster. On the other hand, critics warn that Libra could undermine state regulating power, while further concentrating corporate power in the hands of a few global monopolies.

Realistically, the cryptocurrency could take years to implement. Unlike bitcoin, Libra will need to pass approval from state regulators around the world. It’s important to understand that Facebook Libra won’t be available tomorrow. It first must be approved by a host of global regulations, which could take years, and it’s already facing pushback. However, it’s a huge threat to money transferring businesses like Western Union and MoneyGram which charge fees to transfer money abroad. These businesses are common for migrants who work in the U.S. and send money to their families abroad.

How to start your reporting:

Is there a large number of people in your area who use money wiring services? This is true in big cities and border town with larger number of immigrants and migrant workers. Talk to a frequent user of money wiring and see what they think about a cheaper alternative, but one that also poses risks. How are money wiring services reacting to the news? What about the general public’s reaction given Facebook’s long history of privacy concerns?